E-Buyers Beware

Do you check the prices of goods online before going into the shop to look, touch and feel the item and then proceed home to click ‘buy’ on your computer screen?

Are you an addicted internet shopper? Not only for the fun of it, but how cheap it is also?

On the other hand, are you an internet shopping ‘virgin’ who hasn’t even thought of the prospects of virtual shopping? The latter may apply to many and they may be better off. Internet shopping on websites such as E-Bay and Amazon are all popular and highly addictive and seem reliable and scam proof.

The website E-Bay allows you to buy and sell goods online. These items range from concert tickets, to washing up liquid, to Niall Horan’s uneaten slice of toast. The website is very accessible and allows you to sign up to an account free of charge.

Shoppers may ‘bid’ on an item or ‘buy it now’ at a fixed rate. The bids may start at as little as 0.01c and will increase depending on how many people decide to bid. If you bid on an item and you win that bid you automatically have to buy it.

It seems fun trying to win a bid and finally beating off your competition and then you realise they don’t have to pay the €20, you do. It is only then that you realise your addiction needs to stop as you don’t really need the item, but you are only buying it out of pride, at the thoughts of losing that bidding game.

As far as I’m concerned I’m a highly addicted shopper on the web; it even went so far as receiving a pretend online shopping voucher for Christmas one year from my friend to highlight my odd addiction.

When my own brother was recently scammed online, my addiction stopped.

It all started when he won a mobile phone in a competition. He had no use for the phone so he decided to sell it online. With no previous experience of selling or buying on the internet he was open to scamming and fraudsters. Unfortunately, the outcome was not a profiting one to say the least.

He decided to sell the item at a fixed rate to avoiding the bidding process. When a person in an African country with the name of ‘Debora’ decided to buy the item at his fixed price he was delighted.

She sent an e-mail saying she would like us to send the item to her friend’s address in Poland. Alarm bells should have been ringing at this point. He sent the item off to the seller when the seller claimed she had paid for it but the money was never received.

‘Debora’ had paid through a fake system of online payment and so, it was void. Worse still, three days later she sent an e-mail requesting my brother to send her back over €100 as she announced she paid too much ‘by accident’. She is still e-mailing him to this day.

Needless to say he is not the only person who has been scammed by these fraudsters. Many people complain about the continuous ‘con-men’ that get away with this kind of thing on the internet.

There are also many people who believe it is very safe and have no problems buying online. Maybe we can prevent people being scammed online if we shop local and safely, even if the item is a euro or two cheaper online. Unless we find a huge bargain that we can’t resist, then I guess we can take the risk.

Emma O’Rourke

Image Credit: john_a_ward

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